The Role Of Bioacoustics In The Mating Behavior Of Medically Important Mosquitoes

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Understanding the basic behavioral ecology of mosquitoes is important for the development of new disease control strategies and the improvement of classical control. Mating behavior is severely understudied and we lack even the most basic information about mosquito mating systems. This stage of the mosquito life cycle may hold important targets for disease control. I investigated the role of bioacoutics in mosquito mating behavior. I found that male and female mosquito engage in a dynamic acoustic interaction when they meet in flight. I went on to investigate the role of this behavior, termed harmonic convergence, in the mating behavior of both Aedes and Anopheles mosquitoes. I found that flight tone is correlated with body size and that large individuals produce higher flight tone frequencies. In Anopheles gambiae, I conducted playback experiments and was able to determine that males and females are able to discriminate between the signals produced by large and small potential mates. In Aedes aegypti, I found that successful convergence in a mating attempt predicted the formation of a copula and that female rejection behaviors were less likely when convergence preceded a mating attempt. The male offspring of converging pairs had higher mating success when compared with sons of non-converging pairs and where more likely to converge themselves. These results indicate the mate assessment is a key factor in mosquito mating systems. Further characterization of mate assessment and its mechanism has obvious applications to trangsgenic mosquito release programs and may provide the opportunity for new control strategies.

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mosquito; harmonic convergence; sexual selection


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Union Local


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Harrington, Laura C.

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Thaler, Jennifer S.
Hoy, Ronald Raymond

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Ph. D., Entomology

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Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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